Allow yourself the opportunity

One of the hardest parts about reaching a goal: allowing yourself to try. I’m not talking about the give it a week or a month of slowly and ever so casually working on a goal. I don’t mean give it a week, then fall off the wagon, then two weeks later get back on the wagon. I mean give it all you have. If you want something bad enough give yourself the true opportunity to reach that thing.

I think people underestimate the true amount of time, effort, hard work, and pure determination that go into reaching a goal. I know I have, heck I still do. It’s easy to leave out the key pieces, to not go full throttle. It’s easy to quit and say “it’s just not for me” or “I’ll try again next year”. Stop limiting yourself. Stop limiting your life. Stop taking it easy when the going gets tough. Choose the hard way. Choose to create a better life. Choose to reach what it is you truly wish to reach.

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IT WILL BE WORTH IT.

Over the past few months I’ve been reluctant to really go after my goals. I’ve been reluctant to even set goals. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted or rather what I wanted to prioritize. Prioritizing the key aspects of our lives is so important in relation to setting and reaching goals because it helps us remember what we value and still need to focus on while pursuing change. Having a stable and solid foundation will hold you together and keep you in pursuit. Change is hard, I will never be one to say it’s not which is the exact reason that prioritizing your life and creating a base to grow from is so key. Another key aspect? Trusting yourself. Trusting your ability to pull through.

After a fair amount of good conversation with friends and family, an equal amount of journaling, and the help of yoga, meditation, and some decently heavy squats, I’ve prioritized my life and determined what my base consists of. The key components of my life are 1. health, 2. education, 3. work, 4. family and friends, 5. performance. At the most basic level those are the things that mean the most to me. After that is where I begin the process of creating change for my life, the goals I have set for myself if you will. I’m always the one for trying to take on the world but I’ve accepted that I can’t be the best at everything at once. I can however be the best version of myself.

I’ve found that by prioritizing and then going full throttle after my goals has allowed for me to make huge leaps and bounds forward. I’m not holding myself back out of fear. I have support from my loved ones, I’m being honest, and I’m running full speed ahead. The only way to get somewhere worth being is to go at it 100%, with a fire lit deep inside.

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What actions am I taking to reach my goals? What does my day to day life look like? Are my habits in line with the things I desire to achieve? First off, I’ve stopped taking no for an answer. I’m tired of people telling me to take it easy and rest. I’m tired of being told that I’m past my prime. I’m tired of hearing I’m crazy. I know what I want and trust me I will figure out a way to reach that. My daily life is “designed” in a way that will only help me progress further. I’ve been using techniques to ease stress, I’m working on time management because that alone is completely necessary to fit it all the important things, and I’m doing all I can to ensure I don’t burn out. I have a plan of attack, but I’m fluid with that plan – this way if something happens ‘off plan’, I shift my focus and re-assess rather than beginning to break apart.

What are my habits? For starters I’m currently in the best place I’ve been in over the past ten years. I’m healthy. I’m sleeping well, hydrating, nourishing my body, meditating, practicing yoga, and being mindful. I have time allotted each week for studying and school. I’m working the amount of hours required to support myself and my goals. My nutrition is where it needs to be for my performance goals. I’m being honest with my coach about how I’m feeling rather than pretending I’m ok when something is off. My sleep habits are strict as are my rest days.

I believe that if we truly take care of ourselves, anything is possible. As cliché as that may sound it’s the truth. If you really, fully, honestly want something deep at the core of your being, allow yourself the opportunity to reach that thing. Whatever it is that lights a fire deep inside of you, go after that thing. You are worth your biggest dreams. Believe that, accept that.

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“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in-between.” – Pat Riley

Value your worth

One of the biggest reasons I usually don’t write up a list of New Years resolutions is because I’m quite stubborn and I have commitment issues. It’s really no secret although I’ve actually had people who don’t know me all that well say I am one of the most dedicated individuals they’ve met. Call it what you will but over the past ten years my life has swayed back and forth from stable to unstable to somewhere in the middle more than a handful of times. I’m hot and cold, day and night – that’s my personality. Maybe I’m dedicated because I just don’t quit. I’m not sure to be completely honest. I know what I want, or well I have a very solid understanding of what it is that I am after. It has taken me a lot of self work and tough love to be able to say that.

I am in the pursuit of optimal health, whatever that is for my personal body.

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Throughout my experiences one of the hardest things I’ve come to terms with is what I feel that I *should* be capable of. I would take ego, standards, and previous accomplishments and hold myself accountable to what I believed I needed to be doing. I felt I needed to be the best at competing, a straight-A student, working full-time, always performing better than any other individual at a given moment – all while keeping myself together. I tried to be invincible, like super-woman. For a period of time I was able to adapt to these extreme standards, but soon enough I started to show cracks. It’s quite difficult if not impossible to maintain near perfection in every realm of life at each given moment.

Where did I learn these beliefs? Why is it that I hold myself to standards set higher than a majority of my peers? But better yet, why is it that I’ve met other people who have similar if not identical lifestyle patterns? In my opinion, it’s about trying to prove ourselves as human beings. It’s about your worth as an individual.

What actually is worth? Worth is “moral or personal value.” Source. Worth is how we tend to define ourselves based on our capabilities. Our capabilities which are often measured by comparison to those of others. The thing is, by defining personal worth on the capabilities we ourselves possess in comparison to those around us is ultimately setting us up for defeat. You are yourself. You are not any other individual on the planet. You are you and I am me, accept that.

How about self-respect? How about taking care of your body – both your physical body and your mental body, before trying to take on the world. Accept where you are and who you are before trying to improve yourself as a person. It’s human nature to want to perform well, be well, and live well. I’ve never met somebody who doesn’t want the best for themselves. Even when I was deep into my eating disorder I still wanted the best for myself, eventually. I wasn’t ready to take that step in the moment but I was aware that one day I would be ready.

At the most basic level we are all human beings. For myself, I then build on that and I am a daughter, friend, employee, athlete, student, blogger, and more. I am all of these things. My worth cannot be defined by something outside of myself. The majority of my life thus far has been spent comparing myself to the things that I deemed most important. My worth was somehow less if I was not the smallest yet the strongest. The thing with living this way is that everything begins to contradict itself. I could not grow into the best version of myself if I all was allowing was trying to be better than everybody else.

“I let it go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.”
Joanne Harris

All in all accept yourself, continue to grow into who you are and be a better version of you not your neighbor. Find what makes you come alive as a person, what it is that has you thriving in life and do that thing. Don’t be the reason you didn’t reach your goals. Stop holding yourself back because of trying to be the best at everything versus trying to be the best at your thing.

You have innate value because you are alive. Accept that.

2014 GOALS

Oh why hello there! It’s been a little while, and by that I mean approaching two months. I’ve been busy yada-yada. What can I say classes, finals, and working my rear-end off over break got the best of me this time around. I’ve been one stress ball/walking ball of anxious energy. Things are getting better, I’m learning to accept I simply cannot do every single thing at the same time and to let things go.

I’m not one to typically make resolutions for the new year. It’s just not a priority of mine. I know my values and what makes me happy, and usually that’s enough for me. However this year something clicked in my brain and I’ve had this ridiculous amount of motivation leading me to actually write down a list of goals. Some of these I hope to fully accomplish in 2014, others just simply making some solid ground would be nice. I think it’s important to have a variety of both long-term/ongoing and short-term goals, it keeps us present and balanced in this hectic life.

A glimpse of the list of things I’d like (and plan) to accomplish.

  1. Heal all injuries: I still have a lingering stress fx and one that I’m not convinced is fully healed.
  2. Gain back, and surpass my previous strength level. Lots of heavy lifting these days, which is feeling great and I’m loving it. I can’t wait to see where this year takes me.
  3. All A’s for spring, summer, and fall semesters!
  4. BALANCE. I will be writing an entire post on this topic along. Keep those beautiful eyes peeled 😉
  5. Become a NEDA Navigator.
  6. Keep this blog going, and keep adding new content to it. Meaningful and genuine content.
  7. Accept that not everything I think is meant for me actually is. I’m a firm believer in trying something twice before marking it as “not for me”. My struggle is in accepting that it isn’t for me when in my mind I feel that I *should* be all for it.
  8. Do more yoga.
  9. Allow myself time to rest and recover. A little R&R never hurt anyone. Word on the streets is it’s also quite helpful for strength gains (oh hey goal #2).
  10. Become a Fitfluential ambassador.
  11. Compete again. This one is going to take some time I am very aware as I do not want to get back into competition before my body and mind are at peace and truly ready to go for it.
  12. Practice mindfulness and meditation. Has anyone ever tried guided meditation?
  13. Learn to make latte art. Guess you could say I pulled off a job as a barista for a reason…
  14. Strength specific goals: 180# squat, 200# deadlift, 150# bench, 12 dead-hang pull ups.
  15. Put in more effort towards my social life. I’m an introvert and the simple act of going out and catching up with friends can sometimes be overly daunting.
  16. Research more in general. Topics of interest: integrative medicine, holistic practice, adrenal dysfunction/over-training, supplementation, the effects of training on the neuromuscular system, ect. I’ve recently been enjoying some of the articles on Breaking Muscle, Chris Kresser, and Ancestralize Me.
  17. Prioritize mobility and preventative work (this partially goes with #1).
  18. Keep working towards the elusive goal of optimal health, whatever that actually may be for my body.

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Valid statement.

Forget conventionalisms; forget what the world thinks of you stepping out of your place; think your best thoughts, speak your best works, work you best works, looking to your own conscience for approval.” – Susan B. Anthony.

Identify your situation and change it

Sometimes we find ourselves stuck. Stuck at a plateau – not advancing towards further progress but not going backwards either. Then there are cases where there is a clear problem, yet we in our conscious mind are not aware. Perhaps our loved ones are worried about our choices or actions. Maybe we are aware there is an issue but have adapted to the situation and are not yet willing to change. Change is hard. It can be painful to let go of something that has been a part of everyday life for an extended period of time.

Stop using the fear of change and protecting yourself as excuses to not at least try and create a better life for YOU.

When I was in treatment one of the methods toward changing my behaviors was the stages of change model. This model nicely presents the different stages someone goes through while attempting to change a part of their life that may be harmful, or just not beneficial. What I particularly like is that each stage is easily explained and allows for you to pick apart what you are trying to change and figure out where each part fits.

The primary stages are: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. I’ve seen some instances where there is a sixth stage, relapse OR termination. For stage six you cannot have both relapse being going back into the maladaptive issue or termination being completely ridding your life of the issue.

stages of change

Precontemplation: Others are worried about you and your actions but you see no problem; egosyntonic (many personality disorders, and neurological illnesses are considered egosyntonic in nature meaning that a person’s behaviors are in line with their self-image/beliefs – which can in some cases be the same as self-worth).

What to do: Educate yourself; find helpful for you resources and use them; create a support team if needed, a team you are capable to trust.

Contemplation: Awareness of a problem but not yet ready to create change.

What to do: Understand the function of the problem, why is it present in your life? What purpose does it serve? What would be needed in order to change (new job, skill learning, coping mechanisms, ect.)?

Preparation: Making a plan of action, the steps you will take to change what is needed.

What to do: determine the skills you need/what needs to change; find a support team (or “beef up” your current one); find motivation that will keep you going on your journey.

Action: Put your plan into action. This is where you really get after it and fight for what you both want and need to change.

What to do: commit 100%; don’t doubt yourself. May include slips which then you need to get back up and fight harder; boundary setting in relationships; significant life changes; emotional instability in some cases which WILL work out, keep going, keep fighting.

Maintenance: Keeping on your path to change. The plan of action has been in effect for a bit now and your feeling good on your journey towards change.

What to do: the change is now feeling natural, a way of life. Keep going.

Now, as I mentioned above in some instances there is a sixth stage recognized – which is either relapse or termination.

Relapse: It happens. People fall back into old habits, you get triggered – human beings are not perfect, don’t try to be. However don’t let relapse or even the fear of relapse keep you from trying.

Termination: The ideal goal. This is where you have been avoidant of harmful/maladaptive behaviors for at-least a year and are in a committed place of mind to keep going on your journey. This is where real change happens as your life has done a complete 180 from where you were in precontemplation.

time-is-limited Source

Deep down we know what we are meant to be doing with our lives. It’s not uncommon for external environment to cloud our judgment and create a situation where we are our own worst enemy. Don’t allow your life to be or stay sub-par. Don’t keep with the pattern just because it’s the pattern. If your unhappy, whether or not you choose to accept it than something needs to change. You know what it is. Trust me, you do. We are born with innate intelligence that is meant to drive us in the direction of our life path. Trust it, trust that intuition.

In my experience when there is a problem in need of change, fear is typically present. Whatever you do just make sure your fear doesn’t hold you back from reaching your true potential.

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Part 3 of my journey in racing, relapse, and recovery will be up this week!